Susan Spicka, Advocacy Coordinator for Education Voters of PA, issued the following statement regarding Governor Wolf’s Basic Education Funding increase in the 2016-2017 budget:
“We are heartened to see that Governor Wolf is planning to continue to make progress on fixing the broken and inadequate system for funding education, despite all the dysfunction in the budget process. We are also very glad that he continues to be committed to ensuring that the $377 million increase in the 2015-2016 will be allocated this fiscal year. The $200M proposed increase is a step in the right direction, and we are glad he is committed to annual increases. The difficult truth is that we really need to be at something between $300 and $400M per year to make sufficient progress for today’s students.
If we are going to provide every child in PA with a reasonable chance to get a decent education, the Commonwealth will have to make progress on increasing education funding and closing equity gaps every single year. It is necessary, even if it is hard and seems to bring out the worst in some people. This substantial investment of new state dollars will take a significant step toward moving Pennsylvania’s schools forward and ensuring that all public school students have a fair chance to get a quality education.
By targeting funding at closing the equity gaps and concurrently using the Commission proposed funding formula for Basic Education Funding, Pennsylvania could boost student outcomes in all parts of the state, helping to close funding shortfalls and allowing school districts to begin restoring programs and supports students need to be successful in school today and in their lives after they graduate.
We need the Governor and the legislature to fully commit to the progress that we need to make, and we definitely need the partisans to quit trying to block the Governor. The people paying the price for this theater are Pennsylvania’s children.
The unfortunate state budget debacle this year has exacerbated the serious problems facing many of Pennsylvania’s schools. It is time for lawmakers to put aside their partisan differences and come together to support a school funding system that will make a significant investment in our children and the future of the Commonwealth. We most strongly urge lawmakers to return to Harrisburg, get back to the negotiation table and support a budget that provides these much-needed investments in Pennsylvania’s students.”